I studied this during my A-Levels and I haven't been able to forget about it since. Banks lets us inside the head of Frank, the narrator, and he drags us through his world as though we are being towed behind a truck, and he doesn't let up until the very last page.
Frank is a teenager in Scotland who leads an unconventional life, somewhat isolated, receiving comments that "he's not all there". But his wit and intelligence makes itself apparant as the prose continues and we learn to sympathise with and even like this self-professed murderer, "It was just a stage I was going through."
Set in the very real backdrop of being a teenager in the 80s, in this novel Banks makes us question madness and morality whilst ever being under Frank's power. He draws on Gothic convention and the timelessness of human nature, whilst still being incredibly relevant.
There are moments that genuinely turned my stomach and gave me nightmares, and others that made me laugh aloud, while the whole novel sparkles with literariness. And who doesn't love a book with a good twist at the end?